Dear Doctorate – Year 3, sometime in August 2020

Published on Sunday 9th August 2020 by DJ Kirkby

Dear Doctorate Diary,

The plan was to do  post on how caking has saved my sanity. But, Covid – 19 wanted more attention so here we are with more rambling from me and no cake photos.

I think I first started this post in April and now here we are in August! It’s been a crazy year for all on Earth because of Covid-19, though some have benefitted from lockdown measures put in place (the birds and insects, people who have always been aspirant recluses and the pets who enjoy having their humans at home), others have suffered significantly and my heart goes out to them. I wish I had a magic wand to make everything better for those who need it. Myself, I’d quite happily continue working from home until I retire, despite the longer hours and challenges that come with trying to create a fully online curriculum when some things would benefit from some hands on learning.

The VRLE have really come into their own and helped us deliver the healthcare curriculums learning online, including assessments that would have taken place in clinical practice pre-Covid.

I’ve continued to work on my doctorate on my nonworking days and holidays. I’ve taken to referring to any holiday as a return to Costa Del Thesis which does help ease the pain for some reason. Got to laugh or I’d cry! I’m about to begin the first draft of my penultimate thesis chapter and I can hardly believe I am at this point. I know there are several months of hard work ahead revising the thesis in its entirety and then successfully defending it in a viva, but still…I’m nearly finished the full first draft of my thesis!

Due to being at increased risk of a more severe reaction to Covid-19, I’ve been working from home, stringently social distancing and avoiding public places since before lockdown in March and will continue to do so until an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is widely available. Having less stress (than when commuting and working on campus) has meant that my weight has gone down and my hair has begin growing in dark again (I’ve been completely silver for nearly a decade)!

Although work hours are still super long I am so very grateful to work for an employer who has supported my need to work from home. Our students have continued to benefit from a quality education and although more than half are not currently in clinical practice due to the impact of Covid on the NHS, they will be able to enjoy a much more immersive clinical practice experience once they are able to return as they will have completed nearly much of their theory by then. I’m really proud to work for an employer who took the Covid risk seriously, protected students and staff by closing campuses and removing nearly all students from clinical practice. Luckily the Covid-19 pandemic happened when teaching and meeting online is a bit more commonplace and therefore (with a lot of adaptation of our curriculum delivery) we have been able to carry on delivering healthcare education to our usual excellent standard, albeit in a different way than pre-Covid.

Most people are sensible, but not all, and everyone needs to be, in order to facilitate economic survival of this pandemic. So, hopefully everyone will recognise the necessity of adhering to Covid-19 safe hygiene practices, sensible personal conduct and social distancing measures until an effective vaccine is widely available.

Peace out.

Year 3, Week 1 in review: read week 1 by clicking here

Publishable doctorate words written – Article submitted to NEiP, abstracts submitted to various conferences (all now cancelled because, Covid). Conference abstract for live demo presentation at the ICT4D conference accepted. Virtual International Day of the Midwife conference Virtual Reality Learning Environments: reconfiguring healthcare education – poster and video presentation: https://vidm.org/vidm-2020/vidm2020-programme/ accepted and you can listen to me being interviewed about my research here:Doctorate assignment words written – 45,000 words (of 60,000) of thesis
Cups of tea drunk –  Lost count, tea is so perfect, more tea please.
Miles run – Still on the injury bench from when I hurt the inner lateral aspect of my left heel during half marathon in Feb. I have been doing 5k on my cross trainer each day and also going for a walk in the evenings on nonworking days.
Kilometres swam – Zero, because Covid – 19.
Miles kayaked – Zero, because Covid-19.
Miles cycled – Zero because sore heel / lazy.
Cakes baked –  many, many, so many since my last post. Check out my Instagram page or my recipe page for bakes.
Crafting  done- None, unless fussing my orchids counts?
Books read for pleasure –  Much less than I wish I could, because reading for pleasure is life, but I am too tired when I get into bed to read for more than a few mins.  (see 2020 reading page for link to book reviews)
Books read for doctorate – Many textbooks
Movies / videos watched for doctorateAI: Implications for Education,
Articles read for doctorate / other work Welcome to online learning, Online training is a weapon, Welcome to Your Hastily Prepared Online Course, Moving Pedagogy Online, How to ensure that online learning is layered with various platforms to maximise student benefit,
Blogs read for doctorate – Medical VR, The Wellbeing Thesis, Coronavirus and pregnancy, Ten tips for working from home, Lock Down Band,
Research undertaken – midwifery students (Levels 4, 5, 6), public health students (level 7), physio students (level 6), paramedic students Level 5.
Meetings with doctorate supervisors – I now have two official supervisors: Dr. Isa Rega and Dr. Wendy Marsh. I had my fourth supervision meeting in June.
Meetings with ALN / LD support – ongoing but very similar to supervision now that I am done with the taught phase of my doctorate
Average level of guilt felt when trying to squeeze doctorate days in work diary – I don’t bother trying anymore and just use my nonworking days.
Overall average stress level – high.
Average success rate – acceptable

Plan for  rest of year (in no particular order).

  • Write draft of qualitative data analysis and discussion chapters
  • Try to work less than 10 -12 hours a day
  • Bake
  • Read for pleasure
  • Make time for family
  • Stay Covid infection free

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